January 17, 2022

Largest Private Map Collection of ‘California as Island’ Comes to Stanford Libraries, Maps To Be Digitized

From The Stanford Report:

California is an island. Always has been. Always will be.

A new Stanford Libraries acquisition of 800 maps from one of the nation’s top map collectors, Glen McLaughlin, bolsters the claim: California was portrayed as an island on maps for well over a century.

“To my knowledge, it is the largest collection featuring California as an island in private hands in the world,” said McLaughlin. “The collection was built over a 40-year time period, from 1971 to last year.”


Something else that makes California unique: It’s home to Silicon Valley – and Stanford was a natural locale to digitize the maps. The project began in 2008 under the guidance of Julie Sweetkind-Singer, head librarian of Stanford’s Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections, and formerly a private maps librarian for McLaughlin.

The 800 maps will be posted online in coming months.

“That was an integral part of the vision for bringing the maps to Stanford,” said McLaughlin. “They will be part of a great digital map library that we’re building here. Anyone will be able to see them and study them. They’ll be available 24/7. I don’t know of any library that would keep its maps room open for those hours. It’s terrific.”

Slideshow: Take a Look at a Few of the Maps

Learn More About the Maps

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.